Warning: this is the last chapter! Don’t worry, I will write one or two epilogues within the next few days and a third book will be up soon, but the is officially the last chapter to Shaughna’s and Dshawn’s love story.
“Welcome, Miss Elmore,” Dshawn says when he opens the creaky door for me. “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
I laugh when he quotes The Lion King that we watched with Marcus and Nia last night, stepping into the dusty space that will be transformed within the next couple of months. We’ve been in here many times over the course of the past eight weeks, but this is the first time that this room belong to us. The whole building does, along with the one next door. And the one next to that.
“When is the architect coming?” I ask, looking around the room, a million new ideas already forming in my head even though we’ve already discussed what we want to do with this space.
“We’ve got two hours.” Dshawn’s face is elated as he looks around, seeing what I’m seeing. We don’t look at the walls and see the cracks. We see the black and white paneling we’ve already got our eye on. When I look at the right, I can already see the bar with people shouting their orders at the bartenders.
We head upstairs, enjoying that we’re now walking through what will be our night club soon. It is going to be epic. We still need a few permits to go through, of course, but we did our homework well and schmoozed all the right city officials. Or well, I did, when I went to a fundraiser in my tightest red dress and made sure to give the people who we will need on our side my cleavage. Thank God that all of them are old white straight men. It’s a little sad that the world still works that way, but in this case it works in our favor.
“W-what?” I stammer as I step into the last room, that was a bunch of rubble, dust and spider webs just three days ago. “How did you… when?”
Dshawn smiles while I take in the metamorphosis. It’s completely clean and the broken window has been replaced. There is a table in the middle of the room. It’s just a simple wooden thing with two chairs, but it makes the place look completely different. On the table are two candles, a bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice and two flutes. And, of course, in true Dshawn fashion, there is a bowl of strawberries. His idea of the perfect romantic gesture.
And it is. It totally is.
“Happy anniversary,” he says when I turn to look at him, my eyes already misty.
“What?” I ask, trying to recall what date it is today. “Wait – we don’t even have an anniversary!”
He grins. “Exactly. So it can be whenever we want. This way, it’s a true surprise. And I say today is our anniversary. Nine months. Or eight. Or seven. Or maybe ten. Who the fuck cares, right?” He pulls a lighter from his pocket and lights the candles.
“This is…” I don’t even have the words for it. “You just… Oh, fuck. I will never top this.”
“You can always try,” he teases. “I guess that means that you didn’t bring me a gift, either?”
“Please,” I scoff, an idea already forming in my head. “I never leave home without a gift.”
He tilts his head to the side, a frown appearing on his handsome face. His hair is longer than it’s ever been, although it still looks short because the more it grows out, the more intense the curls get. I move over and run my hands over it, enjoying how soft it feels underneath my fingers.
“Hmm…” he murmurs, closing his eyes when I pull my nails over his scalp just hard enough to feel good but not so much that it will hurt him.
I move one hand to his face, running my index finger over the small scar above his eyebrow that Melchior ended up giving him during the fight. The bruises and cuts are gone, but the scar will always be there. It suits him, in a way. He looks more rugged now, and still sexy as fuck. It’s not so big that it stands out when you first see him, but it’s noticeable when you get close. And I like getting close. Really close.
Our lips meet and his tongue slips in immediately, joining mine in that dance we know so well but never grow tired of. His hands move up into my hair, making me groan into the kiss. I grab his ass and make him grunt as well, digging my fingers in as much as I can. Fuck, that’s a tight ass.
“As much as I love kissing you, this is not exactly a gift,” Dshawn says when we pull back to catch our breath.
“Me giving myself to you is the best gift you’ll ever receive,” I tell him with a cocky smile, knowing that he will agree immediately. And like I expected him to, he immediately nods and smiles. “Now sit down,” I order him, pulling out one of the chairs for him, positioning it far enough from the table so I will be able to do what I’ve got planned.
Dshawn takes a seat and tries to pull me onto his lap, but I drop to my knees instead and undo the buckle of his belt.
“Fuck,” he breathes, already growing hard in his jeans. “I swear that’s not what I was trying to-”
“Shut up,” I tell him, enjoying how he still gets all flustered and tongue-tied around me. It reminds me of when we first started dating and he switched between compellingly seductive and stammering like a nervous teenager.
My hands are working to get him out of his pants and boxer shorts. He lifts his hips so I can pull them down to his ankles, leaving him half-naked on the chair. I moan just from the sight of his rock-hard cock leaking precum onto my hand. My tongue makes its way up and down his shaft before circling the tip, making him grunt in eager expectation.
“Happy anniversary,” I say, looking up into his eyes that are filled with lust. “I hope you like your gift.”
Without further ado, I close my lips around him and take him into my mouth completely, thanking the gods that I don’t have much of a gag reflex. He grabs my hair and pulls it away from my face, using it to dictate the pace for a moment before letting me back in control. He never takes over for longer than a few minutes during sex, always wanting me to be the one to decide what I feel comfortable doing, able to pull back if I want to stop.
Fuck, I’ve got tears in my eyes from how sweet he is while I’m giving him a blowjob. What the hell is wrong with me?
After a while, he pulls my hair gently to signal that I need to stop if I don’t want him to blow his load into my mouth. I’d like to taste him, but I want to fuck him even more, and I don’t have the patience to wait for him to recuperate. I need him now.
His cock slides out of my mouth with a wet pop and he moans when I press one last kiss to the tip. My panties come off easily and I hike up my dress so I can straddle him. He grabs my hips and helps ease me onto him, both of us groaning in pleasure when he fills me up.
“I love you,” he tells me, his eyes locked on mine. “There’s no one else I want. Ever.”
“Hmm,” I agree with a moan, circling my hips to create more friction. “Love you too, baby.”
He lets me dictate the pace and just kisses me and palms my breasts through my bra and dress while I get myself up by riding him. It doesn’t take long for me to find my release, but he doesn’t follow after like I expected. Instead, he stands up, making me gasp from the way he pushes into me as he takes a few rushed steps, my legs around him. He puts my ass on the edge of the table, continuing to fuck me. I put my hands behind me, knocking a champagne flute off the table and not caring one bit when I hear it shatter.
“Give me one more, Shaughna,” he grunts, dark eyes intent on mine. “Come for me, baby.”
My body shudders almost immediately and I move one hand down to rub my clit, moaning when that pushes me over the edge. I come with a high-pitched sound, causing him to curse and push into me with erratic movements while my pussy keeps clenching around him.
“Your turn,” I say hoarsely, using my legs to pull him even deeper into me. “Fill me up, Dshawn.”
“Fuuuuuuuuck…” With one last thrust, he releases himself inside of me, closing his eyes for a moment while he comes back to earth. “Oh, that was good.”
“Hmm,” I agree with a sigh. “Yes, it was.”
He pulls out, watching his cum leak out of me. “Fuck, that will never stop being hot.”
“Tissue?” I ask, laughing at his wide unfocused eyes and wild unruly curls dancing on his head as he jerks his pants back up. I point to my purse that I dropped to the floor next to the table and he pulls some tissues from it, mumbling something about how I carry too much crap around with me in that goddamn thing.
When we’re both clean and dressed, Dshawn pours me a glass of champagne. He takes a swig from the bottle himself before holding it up in a toast.
“To us,” he says, grinning like a madman. “To two people falling in love against all odds and living their dream without giving a fuck about conventions and society’s stupid rules.”
“To us,” I parrot, clinking my glass to the bottle while I keep my wide gaze on him, making him smile when he remembers how he told me that eye contact during a toasts was a must if you don’t want seven years of bad sex. God, that feels like a lifetime ago. I wasn’t even sure if he was truly into me back then. We had only slept together once. By now, we’ve lost count.
“Isn’t this sweet,” a raspy voice says from behind us, making my heart jump against my ribs. “That was quite the show just now. Reminds me of all the fun we had back in the day.”
“Melchior,” I bite out, turning around to face him. How long has he been standing there on the threshold? Did he see us have sex, or is he just messing with us? Oh well, who cares. After eight weeks of bliss without him, he’s back. Of course he is. Stupid asshole.
“Get the fuck out,” Dhawn hisses, putting the bottle back in the bucket and moving in front of me protectively. “If you lay one finger on her I will-”
“Do what?” he asks, laughing. His gray eyes are cold and calculating. “You’ve lost your leverage, boy. There’s only one sex tape and Shay knows it. There’s nothing else to hold over my head. I can do whatever the fuck I want.”
I step to the side so I’m no longer behind Dshawn and I give Melchior my most sickeningly sweet smile. “True,” I tell him in a soft voice that makes Dshawn look at me in surprise. This is not weak Shaughna, the one who starts hyperventilating when she thinks that Melchior is near. No, this is the new me. And I can take him. “How about I just delete the clip?” I offer, moving to my purse to pull out my phone.
Little does he know that Dshawn’s phone is in my purse as well. That man may complain about how much shit I stuff in there, but he sure likes using me as his personal pack mule. His phone, his earbuds, some gum… Yeah, this is basically his purse as well. While I pretend to search for my phone, I tap his screen and enter his code. Thank fuck for unconditional love and trust. We basically know every single one of each other’s passwords by now. Once I’ve made sure that his phone is recording all sounds in the room, I get up and show Melchior my phone.
“Do you want to do the honors?” I ask him. “Or do you trust me to do it?”
“Shaughna!” Dshawn exclaims, not knowing what I’m planning. And thank God for that, because I need him to be enraged in order to sell this. He’s not a great actor, so it’s good that he’s not in on my master plan. This is going to work, I can feel it.
“How about we do it together?” Melchior suggests, a smile on his face that lights up his face. There is the man I fell for. I knew he was still in there, somewhere, beneath all the hurt, anger and resentment. He’s not all bad. He needs therapy. Maybe some medication. And I know how to get that for him.
“Sure,” I agree easily, sidestepping Dshawn and moving closer to my ex-boyfriend, who is looking like can’t believe I’m not making a scene. Why Melchior is still obsessed with me is beyond me, but I remember what his father told me. He didn’t fall out of love with me back then, he was just forced to break up with me by his dad. Maybe some part of him still loves me, in his own twisted way.
Dshawn makes a move to grab me when Melchior puts his hand on my lower back, but I give him a hard look. Sure, my skin is scrawling and I want to kick that sick son of a bitch where it hurts to most, but I can’t have Dshawn stepping in right now. I scroll through my gallery and show Melchior the clip, even clicking on it so that our collective moans from years ago fill the room for a moment.
“Delete it,” I tell him, holding the phone out to him.
He takes it from me and does what I tell him to, double checking to see if it’s not somewhere in the cloud or in a trash bin or something. Yeah, Melchior isn’t stupid. Little does he know that my boyfriend is a retired IT god that would never allow for any pictures or movies to be deleted that easily. Not that I need that movie, but it’s still nice to know that Dshawn is smarter than Melchior. Hell, he’s better in every single way.
“Happy?” I ask Melchior, stepping away from him and holding out my hand so he can give me back my phone.
“No,” he grunts, grabbing my hand and pulling me closer. “I won’t be happy until you’re mine again.”
“Get your filthy hands off of my girlfriend!” Dshawn roars, grabbing my waist to pull me behind him again.
“We both know you’re not going to hit me,” Melchior says, laughing manically. “You can’t risk being arrested again. Unless you want to rot away in a jail cell while I take your girl from you, I suggest you pipe down, boy.”
“Look…” I say with a sigh, hoping that I sound convincing. “We both know that no one will ever make me feel like you did, but I’m with him now. You hurt me too many times, Melchior.”
A confused look crosses his face and his light eyes search my face. “I’m sorry for hurting you, Shay,” he says after moment of silence, sounding genuine. “I never should have hit you.”
“You didn’t just hit me, Melchior,” I said loudly, wanting to make sure that every single word makes it onto the recording. “You bit me, threw me against the wall, choked me, kicked me…”
“Yes,” he confirms, stupid asshole that he is. Dumbass. “Yes, I know. You just made me so mad back then, always whoring yourself out to other guys. I hated what you made me do just as much as you did, Shay.”
“She didn’t make you do anything, you fucking pig!” Dshawn roars, hit body trembling from the rage he’s trying to contain. “Just get the fuck out!”
“No, he’s not leaving yet,” I say with a sly smile. “He’s got to stick around for just a few more minutes, baby. I’ve got another anniversary present for you.”
Before either of them can ask me what the hell I’m talking about, I walk back to my purse, bend down and pull our Dshawn’s phone. I hand it to him and grin when I see the understanding flash in his eyes.
“Best gift ever,” he tells me forcefully. “Truly amazing.”
“What are you two idiots smiling about?” Melchior asks, worry finally making its way onto his face.
Dshawn presses play and turns up the volume, grinning wickedly when we all hear Melchior’s words echo through the empty room, admitting that he hurt me. Hit me. Do so many other things to me.
“Who needs that stupid clip when I’ve got you on tape admitting to abuse?” I ask Melchior, enjoying that I’m the one with all the power now. “And, of course, that clip isn’t truly deleted. How stupid do you think I am? I will never let go of that leverage. Don’t even try to grab the phone, your admission is already uploaded onto our online account.” I can’t help but laugh at Melchior’s shocked expression. “Here’s what is going to happen, boy. You are never ever coming anywhere near me ever again. And you’re getting help. I will send your father the address of the perfect place for you, where they will help you figure out what the fuck is wrong with you. It’s far away from civilization so you won’t be able to hurt anyone while you work through your shitload of problems. I will make sure to check if you’re still there every few weeks. If you get out of there before the doctors think it’s safe, I will release this tape online and hand it over to the police as well. Let’s see how your uncle well get you out of this, huh? Even if he does, your reputation will be ruined.”
“You filthy little-”
“Slut?” I finish for him. “Whore? Trust me, I’ve heard it all. Your words don’t hurt me, Melchior. Just like your fists never will from this day on. You’re out of my life. Bye boy.”
“I will ruin you and-”
“Sure sure,” I interrupt him again, not even rattled by the fire in his gray eyes, nor by the way his hands are balled into fists. He doesn’t scare me anymore. “I’m sure you will try, but you won’t succeed. Just leave, Melchior.”
Finally, he grunts and turns around, storming out of the room and slamming the door behind him. Dshawn and I stare at each other, not sure if this truly happened. Did I really just face my demon head-on? And… did I win?
“Fuck, that was awesome!” Dshawn yells, picking me up and hugging me so hard it hurts. “You a dangerous woman, Shaughna Elmore.”
“Only if you mess with the people I love,” I tell him before I move in for a hungry kiss.
We battle for dominance and this time, I win. He grunts when I grind against him, pulling back before we can get too out of control.
“Do you think that it really worked?” he asks me, his pupils dilated with lust even though he’s trying to keep a cool front.
“Pretty damn sure, yeah.” I pull him in for another kiss. “Wait…” Pulling back again, I give him a searching look. “I didn’t get my gift yet, did I?”
He grins and moves to my purse, kneeling down to pull out a small black box that I didn’t even know he’d put in there. Maybe I really do have too much crap in that old thing if I don’t even know my own boyfriend put a black jewelry box in my purse.
Wait – what?
Surely he is not going to…? No… He can’t be. We agreed we don’t want that. Right?
“Shaughna Elmore,” Dshawn says, still on his knees in front of me. “You are the most amazing woman I have ever met. I can’t imagine my life without you. Will you stay with me forever, or well, at least until one of us dies? And will you be my business partner, my roommate, the love of my life and one day, like, ten years from now or something, the mother of my children?”
“Yes,” I say immediately, although my ears are ringing. “But Dshawn, you know that I don’t want to-”
He flips open the box and shows me what’s inside. It’s not a ring. Instead, it’s a necklace with an infinity sign dangling from the thin silver chain.
“Will you forever be my girlfriend?” he asks, a grin spreading across his sweet face. “And never my wife?”
“Yes!” I shriek, laughing and crying at the same time. I may not believe in marriage, but it’s sure as hell nice to be proposed to. This is just like the vows Caroline and Nathan had for each other at their wedding. Marriage may be unnecessary, but telling someone that you love them and ask them to stay with you forever is romantic as hell. Even I feel that deep in my bones.
He gets up and pulls the necklace from the box, holding it out to me. Normally, I don’t like it when people put anything around my neck, be it a scarf, a necklace or anything else. Melchior managed to ruin that for me by strangling me with one of my favorite necklaces back in the day, all because he thought my dress was too low-cut. Now, standing here with Dshawn, who actually listens to me and loves me, even remembers me telling him about that time with Melchior… He would never do that.
Instead of taking the necklace from him and putting it on myself, I turn around and sweep my hair up with my hands, holding it up so my neck is free. He puts the thin chain on me, the infinity sign resting just between the top of my breasts. His lips press against my neck, making me shiver.
“I love you,” he whispers into my ear.
I turn around and take his face in my hands, looking at him like I’m seeing him for the first time. The wide brown eyes, those ridiculously cute black curls, the sweet scent of oranges, those rippling muscles, and above all the big heart that shines through in everything he does.
“Love isn’t strong enough a word for how I feel about you,” I tell him. “But I guess it will have to do. I love you too, baby. I’m honored that you want to be my boyfriend for the rest of your life, and never my husband.”
“Good.” He kisses me tenderly, trying to convey his love for me that way, like I don’t already know just how much he cares for me. “How about we finally have some champagne and strawberries?”
Before I can agree, we hear a voice calling from downstairs. “Hello? Anybody here?”
“Fuck!” Dshawn says, laughing. “The architect!”
“Back to business,” I sigh, although I am excited to finally start the long journey of making this old office building into a wicked nigh club. If there is anyone who can make this happen, it’s Dshawn and I. We’ve got this.
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